Stunned? You’re not the only one:

“I thought there was a typo. I thought they meant 10 cents per cigar, not $10 per cigar. I was stunned like everyone else,” Sharp said.

Currently the tobacco tax is 4.8 cents per cigar and 39 cents per pack of cigarettes (1.95 cents each). The latest bill will raise those to $1/pack for cigs and $10/cigar. The increase of 150% on cigarettes is ridiculous but the cigar tax is off the scale.

The average aficionado smokes about three cigars a week at about $3 to $5 apiece, according to the cigar association.

The tax would mean that relaxing past time would go to $13 to $15 for the exact same cigars! Of course the true tragedy is that (as always) the poorest cigar smokers will be the hardest hit. For those that can’t afford the sweet nectar of a hand rolled smoke, machine made cigars typically run between 50 cents and a dollar apiece. So a poor man’s cigar relaxation costs about as much as everyday acceleration found in a Coke. Imagine paying $11 for a 16oz bottle of Coke.

With the tax the country’s cheapest cigars will instantly cost as much as the nicest your local humidor has to offer (which will then cost $20 instead of $10). In essence, taking cigar smoking away from the poor and allowing only on the rich to enjoy it. I thought the Democrats were supposed to give things to the poor.

And what about the tobacco worker’s (we always seem concerned about the tobacco farmers in this country) jobs? Hav-A-Tampa alone employs 900 workers in the Tampa area and doesn’t make a bad smoke. I coincidentally enjoyed their wares just last night (research for this article of course). I believe Eric Newman, who runs the Tampa business founded by his grandfather Julius Caesar Newman and employs many people in his small cigar factory said it pretty well:

“Why don’t we just go out of business?” Newman said. “Here, you can run our company, Mr. Government.”

Now what could possess such a flagrant taxation bill? Well the poor, sick, dying children – or so they would have you believe. This tobacco tax has been dubbed to help the children, but that’s a bit of slick marketing. This bill defines children as anyone 25 years of age and under.

Let me say that again: ANYONE 25 years of age and under. So if you are a 25 year old male that makes $82,000/year with a house wife of 23 and two small children, guess which of you are eligible for this coverage? All four of you. This bill is not helping “children”, or the “poor”, or the “uninsurable”. This is an end-run to get Universal Government Health Care covering the bottom fourth of the human age range. A few more bills like this and we will have Hillary-Care without the panic inducing name.

Thankfully, for tax payers and cigar smokers Bush has said he will veto the bill. But what happens after ’08 is anyone’s guess.